Saul Leiter: Photographer of everyday beauty


Early Colour by Saul Leiter, Steidl.

I never thought of the urban environment as isolating. I leave these speculations to others. It’s quite possible that my work represents a search for beauty in the most prosaic and ordinary places. One doesn’t have to be in some faraway dreamland in order to find beauty.

On learning of Saul Leiter’s death today, I tried to remember when I first encountered his work, and despite my efforts, this evening I am still struggling to remember. So ingrained in my mind are his early colour images; so influential his way of celebrating the everyday often overlooked details of the urban world which surrounds us. As obituaries now begin to be published, I recommend returning to recent documentary In No Great Hurry which will surely become a fitting lasting tribute. Enjoy captured on film many moving and delightful insights from this masterful but most humble of photographers.

I am not immersed in self-admiration. When I am listening to Vivaldi or Japanese music or making spaghetti at three in the morning and realize that I don’t have the proper sauce for it, fame is of no use. The other way to put it is that I don’t have a talent for narcissism.

[* Saul Leiter quotes are from a detailed interview with Photographers Speak, 2009]

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